Jersey politician concerned over living wage study delay

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A delay in publishing a review into a possible living wage for Jersey will "bury it as an election issue" according to a St Helier politician.

Deputy Geoff Southern introduced a successful proposition in May 2013 calling on the chief minister to review the concept of a living wage.

Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said he needed more time and would publish an interim report at the end of 2014.

Deputy Southern said it was originally due by the end of January 2014.

He said delaying the report until the end of 2014 would "bury it" as an issue for the elections in October.

"It was accepted at the time that it would take longer than January to produce the report but what that has done is sweep it off the table, so it is not a topic for active debate.

"It should be an issue we are presenting to prospective members of the States 'are you for or against a living wage'."

'Cost of living'

Jersey companies must pay a minimum wage of £6.63 an hour. The living wage is a guideline amount that is calculated around a basic standard of living.

In the original proposition, approved 35 votes to seven, Deputy Southern asked the chief minister to "investigate the feasibility and desirability of the introduction of a living wage for Jersey".

The report is expected to examine the experience of other jurisdictions, the appropriate level it could be set at and the impact on the business sector.

Senator Gorst said there was a commitment to investigate a living wage in the 2014 business plan.

He told the States of Jersey: "There are a number of different elements to the living wage calculation, one of which is income distribution.

"Work on the 2014/2015 Household Income Distribution Survey will start in spring 2014 and will be completed by the end of 2015.

"Alongside that, work will be undertaken to establish other elements of the living wage calculation, such as basic cost of living."

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